8 Things You Need To Know About Preventing Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most commonly diagnosed neurodegenerative condition behind Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s the 14th leading cause of death in America, and if that wasn’t scary enough, 64% of patients diagnosed die within six years and only 23% of patients living past the ten-year mark are free from dementia.

And you thought all you had to worry about was Alzheimer’s?

I was shocked to read these numbers because, while I am hearing about more and more people with Parkinson’s, I don’t see it all over the media or ribbon campaigns for it.

What Parkinson’s Looks Like In The Brain

PD is a progressive disease of the nervous system in which a person’s brain gradually stops producing the neurotransmitter, dopamine. With less and less dopamine, they lose the ability to regulate their movements, body, and emotions. The condition is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and alterations in other parts of the brain and neurotransmitters.

PD progresses slowly in most people with symptoms often taking years to develop, and many can live for years with the disease. PD itself isn’t fatal. However, complications from it are serious and can lead to death. The four main-movement related symptoms of Parkinson’s are:

  • Tremor, which means shaking or trembling. Tremor may affect your hands, arms, or legs.
  • Stiff muscles.
  • Slow movement.
  • Problems with balance or walking.

Many other problems, such as depression, constipation, sleep disturbances, and cognitive issues, may be present.

What Causes Parkinson’s?

Although it’s well-known that lack of dopamine causes the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, it’s not clear why the involved brain cells deteriorate. Genetic and pathological studies have revealed that various dysfunctional cellular processes, inflammation, and stress can all contribute to cell damage.

  • Age is the largest risk factor for the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. Most people who develop Parkinson’s disease are older than 60 years of age.
  • Men are affected about 2 times more often than women.
  • A small number of individuals are at increased risk because of a family history.
  • Head trauma, illness, or exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides and herbicides may be a risk factor.

In Preventing Parkinson’s: How to Cut Your Risk by Strengthening Your Multiple Shields, Ben Weinstock PT, DPT, writes:

It appears that aging combined with certain genetic vulnerabilities and environmental exposures leads to PD in susceptible individuals. The combination of unhealthy vulnerabilities and exposures is referred to as multiple hits. These multiple hits may be: poor diet; poor sleep; head trauma; lack of exercise; stress; exposures to toxins; and other unhealthy factors.

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Graves’ disease: Symptoms, treatment, and causes

Graves’ disease involves an overactive thyroid gland and results in an overproduction of thyroid hormones, or hyperthyroidism. It is relatively easy to treat. If left untreated, however, it can have serious consequences.

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition. This meaning that the body’s immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign invaders and attacks them. It is the most common autoimmune disorder in the United States.

A number of conditions can cause hyperthyroidism, but Graves’ disease is the most common, affecting around 1 in 200 people. It most often affects women under the age of 40, but it is also found in men.

Graves’ disease was originally known as “exophthalmic goiter” but is now named after Sir Robert Graves, an Irish doctor who first described the condition in 1835.

Fast facts on Graves’ disease:Here are some key points on Graves’ disease. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
  • It is the most common type of autoimmune disease in the United States.
  • Graves’ disease affects an estimated 2-3 percent of the world’s population.

Symptoms

woman annoyed at her desk

Irritability is a symptom of Graves’ disease.

The overproduction of thyroid hormones can have a variety of effects on the body.

Symptoms can include:

  • increased sweating
  • weight loss (without change in diet)
  • nervousness
  • hand tremors
  • changes in menstrual cycle
  • erectile dysfunction and reduced libido
  • anxiety and irritability
  • an irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Graves’ dermopathy, with thick red skin on the shins (rare)
  • enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)
  • heart failure

Treatment

There are a variety of treatments available for Graves’ disease. The majority are aimed at inhibiting the overproduction of thyroid hormones by targeting the thyroid gland; others aim to reduce the symptoms.

Anti-thyroid medication

The most commonly utilized treatment for Graves’ disease anti-thyroid medication.

Three common drugs that target the thyroid are propylthiouracil,methimazole, and carbimazole (which is converted to methimazole and is not available in the United States but is used in Europe); methimazole is most common in the United States.

Anti-thyroid medication helps prevent the thyroid gland from producing excess amounts of hormones by blocking the oxidation of iodine in the thyroid gland.

Symptoms normally improve within 4-6 weeks of starting medication. Anti-thyroid drugs can often be used in conjunction with other treatments such as radioactive iodine therapy or surgery.

Medication may continue for 12-18 months to make sure that the condition does not come back. In some cases it may be prescribed longer.

Radioactive iodine therapy

Radioactive iodine therapy has been used to treat Graves’ disease since the 1940s. It is still popular because it is non-invasive and highly effective.

Radioactive iodine is taken orally and directly targets the thyroid gland. Iodine is used by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones. When medication is taken, the radioactive iodine soon builds up in the thyroid gland and slowly destroys any overactive thyroid cells.

This results in a reduction in size of the thyroid gland, and fewer thyroid hormones being produced. Although there have been concerns that the radiation might increase risk of thyroid cancer, so far, no study has measured an increased danger. However, there is a very small risk of secondary cancers that may result from this treatment.

Beta blockers

Beta blockers are traditionally prescribed to deal with heart problems and hypertension. They work by blocking the effects of adrenaline and other similar compounds. They can help reduce symptoms in Grave’s disease.

Graves’ disease patients may be more sensitive to adrenaline, this can result in symptoms such as sweating, shaking, increased heart rate, and anxiety. Beta blockers can help alleviate these symptoms, but do not address Graves’ disease itself.

Beta blockers are often used alongside other treatments, meaning there is a risk that side-effects can occur due to the different drugs interacting with one another.

Surgery

Because other treatments for Graves’ have steadily improved, surgery is now less common. However, it is still used if other treatments are unsuccessful.

Thyroidectomy is the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland – how much depends on the severity of the symptoms.

The biggest advantage of surgery is that it is arguably the fastest, most consistent, and most permanent way to restore normal thyroid hormone levels.

After surgery, patients may experience neck pain and a hoarse or weak voice, however, these should just be temporary, due to the breathing tube that is inserted into the windpipe during surgery.

A scar will be present after surgery, the severity of it will depend on how much of the thyroid is removed.

If only part of the thyroid is removed, the remaining portion is able to take over its functions.

If the whole thyroid is removed, the body will be unable to produce enough thyroid hormones, a condition known as hypothyroidism. To treat this, a doctor will prescribe hormone pills, which replace the effect of the hormone.

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Asthma sufferers warned imminent storms could trigger potentially fatal ‘thunder fever’

The predicted thunderstorms could bring the perfect conditions for the phenomenon which can cause attacks

A dangerous combination of high pollen levels and stormy weather could drive a rise in the number of cases of thunder fever.

As North Wales is issued a warning for thunderstorms in the days ahead, asthma sufferers are urged to stay indoors due to the harmful phenomenon, which can prove fatal to some.

The Met Office has issued its very first thunderstorm warning for the region in its 164-year history.

The yellow warning is in force from 11am until 8pm on Friday, July 13 and covers the whole of the area.

And with the recent warm weather and very high grass pollen count, the impending storms could create the perfect conditions for thunder fever to occur.

Last year, 8500 people were hospitalised and nine died from asthma attacks after thunderstorms according to the Herald Sun.

(Image: iStockphoto)

For the event to occur, the perfect blend of conditions must be met: high pollen count in the air, humidity and a northerly wind.

During a thunderstorm, pollen grains in the air absorb moisture before exploding into tiny particles.

Winds then scatter the fine particles where they can easily be inhaled deep into the lungs, causing inflammation and irritation.

And for asthma sufferers, this can trigger an attack.

Sonia Munde of Asthma UK said an estimated 3.3million Brits had their asthma triggered by pollen: “Thunderstorms can have a devastating impact on people with asthma and trigger an asthma attack which could be fatal.

“Humid, stormy conditions break the pollen into much smaller particles, which are then inhaled more deeply into the lungs and can lead to life-threatening asthma attacks.”

(Image: Weather Channel)
(Image: Getty Images)

People are advised to keep their medication to hand over the weekend in the event of symptoms being triggered.

14 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Acid Reflux

What is acid reflux? 

Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is found in the stomach and is an important part of the digestive process. Stomach acid is produced by the parietal cells in the stomach which secrete gastric juice to maintain an acidic pH which is essential for triggering digestive enzyme secretion and the absorption of certain minerals like magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron. As well as providing an important immune defense system against parasites, it wards off infections and food poisoning. 

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Blood pressure pills taken by MILLIONS worldwide ‘raise your risk of lung cancer’, scientists warn

    • Patients taking ACE inhibitors were 14% more likely to develop the cancer 
    • The risk increases the longer the patients were on the medication 
  • Scientists believe the drugs cause the accumulation of chemicals on the lung

Blood pressure pills taken by millions worldwide could raise the risk of lung cancer, research has found.

It showed that patients on ACE inhibitors were 14 per cent more likely to develop the cancer than those on other types of drugs.

The risk went up the longer patients were on the medication. Those taking them for five years were 22 per cent more likely to get lung cancer rising to 31 per cent if they were on them for ten years.

Scientists believe the drugs cause the accumulation of chemicals called bradykinin on the lung which in turn leads to cancer.

The most common ACE inhibitor, Ramipril, was prescribed over 27 million times in England in 2017. Other common names include captopril, cilazapril and enalapri

The most common ACE inhibitor, Ramipril, was prescribed over 27 million times in England in 2017. Other common names include captopril, cilazapril and enalapri


But other experts cast doubt on the findings and pointed out that the lung cancer could simply be caused by patients smoking at the same time as taking the drugs.

Up to five million patients in the UK are prescribed ACE inhibitors and they usually taken for high blood pressure or following a heart attacks.

The most common ACE inhibitor, ramipril, was prescribed more than 27 million times in England in 2017, costing £41 million, according to the NHS.

It is branded as Tritace in the UK but marketed as Altace in the US, where figures show there are around 163million prescriptions for ACE inhibitors each year.

Other common names for the drugs include captopril, cilazapril and enalapri.

They work by reducing the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme, or ACE for short. By blocking this enzyme, the blood vessels relax and widen and blood pressure is lowered.

An estimated 103 million adults in the US, which is almost half the adult population, have high blood pressure, according to statistics this year from the American Heart Association.

The study, published in the BMJ, looked at 992,000 adults who were prescribed blood pressure drugs in the UK between 1995 and 2015.

Patients were taking one of two types of pills either ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, which work in a different way.

Compared to patients on the angiotensin receptor blockers, those on ACE inhibitors were 14 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer over a six-year period.

The study was carried out by researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, in Canada, who called for ‘additional studies, with long term follow-up, to investigate the effects of these drugs on incidence of lung cancer’.

They said that although a 14 per cent increased risk might not seem very much, ‘small relative effects could translate into large absolute numbers of patients at risk for lung cancer’.

The researchers added: ‘Given the potential impact of our findings, they need to be replicated in other settings, particularly among patients exposed for longer durations.’

But Professor Stephen Evans, an expert on the effects of drugs at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it was unlikely that the drugs were causing lung cancer.

‘Drawing strong conclusions and talking about public health impact in this situation seems premature,’ he said.

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4 Key Facts You Need to Know About COPD

Did you know that more than 65 million people around the world have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?1 COPD isn’t just one disease, but rather a diagnosis which encompasses multiple conditions which can affect and cause significant damage to your airway passages and lungs. Many people gravely live with it daily though it can diminish quality of life and cause prolonged suffering. It is a leading cause of death among adults, yet people often don’t know that much about it.

To know how to prevent, treat, or manage COPD, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the disease. Below are a couple of facts that can help you better understand this life-altering disease.

1. COPD comprises several serious respiratory conditions

A diagnosis of COPD means that the patient has multiple conditions, as COPD is not just one disease. Some of the main conditions included are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, though it’s common for most COPD patients to show symptoms of both.

All of the conditions are categorized as serious long-term breathing problems. With COPD, people will find it increasingly difficult to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide as there’s progressive damage to the lungs and airways. The struggle to breathe becomes more severe over time and can have a terrible effect on your quality of life.

The damage that COPD could inflict in your respiratory system include:

  • Mucus clogging the airway passages
  • Air sacs in your lungs deteriorating
  • Narrowed and inflamed bronchial tubes

Symptoms could include:

  • A persistent cough
  • A large amount of mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Increased number of respiratory infections
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, and legs
  • Unexplained/ unintended weight loss

2. COPD worsens over time

Sadly, there is still no cure for COPD. The progressive disease will worsen with time and its impact on your lifespan can be controlled with a combination of treatments.

Medical and scientific experts are constantly working on new treatments which can significantly slow down the progression of COPD, control its symptoms, and alleviate the pain it may cause. Lifestyle changes can also make a significant impact on quality of life. The treatment(s) that work best are dependent on each individual’s condition and factors, as well as the severity of COPD when diagnosed and the presence of other medical conditions. Treatments include:

  • Various medications
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • A personalized regimen of exercise, nutrition, counseling, and other interventions
  • Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
  • Avoiding exposure to highly polluted environments

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RheumNow: 10 Ways RA Could’ve Killed Glenn Frey

I was truly stunned Monday when it was announced that Glenn Frey, from the Eagles, had died as a result of complications from his rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.

It was unexpected, shocking, and so wrong that someone so young would die, and from RA. It hit me hard — a bit worse than Lennon.

The media and most of the lay audience seemed puzzled that “rheumatoid arthritis” or its complications could be the cause of death … especially in a middle-aged rock icon. The patients, their families, and the populace are not aware that RA can kill. It can hinder what should be a great life. But it is never given the credit it deserves as the potentially devastating disease it can be.

Several publications have noted RA is seldom listed as the cause of death on review of death certificates. A few studies have shown that RA is the underlying cause of death in 18% to 27% of death certificates. A recent study from Brazil showed that the average age at death for RA was 67 years — the same age as Glenn Frey. The other commonly listedcauses of death include pneumonia, sepsis, renal failure, interstitial lung disease, and heart failure.

While I’ve always admired his music and talents, I don’t know Mr. Frey or any details of his medical conditions. This event begs the question: what can be learned from his unexpected death? Why do RA patients die unexpectedly?

1. RA is deadly. Numerous studies have shown that RA patients live 6-11 fewer years than non-RA controls. This is higher in women, those who are seropositive, and those with active or bad RA. Bad RA is uncontrolled RA, with swollen joints, functional impairments, chronic fatigue, and pain. Bad RA is what rheumatologists worry about, lay awake at night over and it’s an important objective of new drugs and research.

2. RA patients are at greater risk of developing comorbidities that contribute to mortal and morbid risks. Lifespan is both pre-ordained and the cumulative effects of lifestyle, consequence, and disease. We know what to expect when someone with a chronic medical condition develops a series of unfortunate additional medical events. Multiple problems portend graver outcomes and, not unexpectedly, the dominoes of life begin to fall.

3. Infection. Pneumonia is the #1 cause of infectious death in RA. Patients are at higher risk for multiple reasons and any individual risk is the result of multiple complex factors. In decreasing order of importance, RA patients develop serious (hospitalizable) infections because of: a) the severity of RA (wherein risk is related to inflammation and debility is the consequence of repeated damage); b) steroid use — glucocorticoids are acutely wonderful, but they are chronically hazardous. Steroids increase the risk of infections (certainly at doses greater than 5 mg per day), adverse cardiovascular events, and stroke; c) comorbidities, especially chronic lung disease, diabetes, renal, or heart disease; d) breakdown of skin leaving open ulcers or wounds; and e) major surgeries. While drugs are often blamed for an increase in the risk of infection, drugs are only contributory after all of the above have upped the risk of infection. Methotrexate, immunosuppressives, or biologics, in and of themselves, do not significantly increase risk of serious infections.

4. Lymphoma and cancer. Cancer is one of the top three causes of death in RA. These patients have a higher risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, and skin cancer for sure. But they have a lower risk of colon and breast cancer. What is astounding is the data that shows the highest level of disease activity (meaning inflammation) can be associated with a greater than 70-fold increase risk of NHL. This is why patients need to be treated early and aggressively so that years of uncontrolled inflammation will not shift the odds in favor of a future cancer.

5. Cardiovascular death. This includes myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, etc. RA patients succumb to CV deaths because of the cumulative detrimental effects of systemic inflammation on the vasculature and myocardium. This can be compounded by chronic NSAIDs (which may cause small but significant increases in hypertension), corticosteroids, weight gain, sedentary lifestyle, etc. There is encouraging strong data that effective suppression of chronic inflammation and disease activity with either methotrexate or TNF inhibitors is associated with prolonged survival — especially in those who take these drugs for more than 2 years.

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9 Famous People with Bipolar

They represent the pinnacle of achievement, but also a thousand struggles. Their struggles are similar to ours and so to know them is to know ourselves. The following are 9 famous people who are now speaking out about their experiences living and thriving with bipolar disorder.

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy was a congressman for 16 years. He is now a tireless advocate for mental health. He disclosed his diagnosis of bipolar disorder in the late 1990s and sponsored the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, signed into law in 2008, which required insurance companies to treat mental illness in the same way they treat physical illnesses.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones is a singer and actress who played Annie at age 11 according to IMDB.com and hasn’t stopped acting since. In 2013, she announced she was seeking treatment for bipolar disorder. Zeta-Jones had previously been diagnosed with bipolar II, which is often misdiagnosed as depression and had sought treatment in 2011 as well.

Mel Gibson

In 2008, during the documentary “Acting Class of 1977,” Mel Gibson announced he had recently been diagnosed with manic depression, now known as bipolar disorder, saying, “I had really good highs but some very low lows.”

Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss, an Academy Award winner, who has appeared in “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” first publicly talked about his struggle with bipolar disorder in 2006. Since that time, he shares his story in hopes of helping others. “By telling my own story, I hope to help remove the stigma. It never should be something to hide.”

Jane Pauley

In her autobiography, Jane Pauley shares she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She described one time as “My tides were fluctuating, back and forth, back and forth, sometimes so fast they seemed to be spinning. They call this ‘rapid cycling.’ It’s a marvel that a person can appear to be standing still when the mood tides are sloshing back and forth, sometimes sweeping in both directions at once. They call that a ‘mixed state.’ It felt like a miniature motocross race going on in my head.”

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In world first, HIV-positive woman donates kidney to HIV-positive recipient

Nina Martinez donated a kidney in a historic surgery that was performed Monday. Photo courtesy of Sarah Marie Mayo

An Atlanta woman became the first living HIV-positive kidney donor in the world on Monday when surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore transferred her organ to a recipient who is also HIV-positive, according to a statement from the medical center. Both the donor and the recipient, who wishes to remain anonymous, are doing well.

Nina Martinez, who has HIV, donated a kidney to an HIV-positive recipient.  Photo courtesy of Michele Rhee

Nina Martinez, a 36-year-old public health consultant, acquired HIV as a 6-week-old in 1983, when she received a blood transfusion in the years before blood banks began routine testing for the virus. HIV damages the immune system and interferes with the body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease.
Despite her illness, Martinez’s enduring spirit is audible.
“I really want people to reconsider what living with HIV means,” she said from her hospital bed two days after her operation. “If anyone is proof that you can live a lifetime with HIV, that is myself. I’ve been living with HIV for 35 years — pretty much the length of the epidemic in the United States.”

Dr. Dorry Segev, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the surgeon who performed Martinez’s operation, praised her bravery and said that the historic surgery is “really a celebration of HIV [medical] care and its evolution.”

Giving ‘HOPE’ to people living with HIV

Until 2013, the United States did not permit HIV-positive organ donations, Segev said: “I was watching people with HIV die on our transplant list, and I was watching us have to decline every single potential donor, whether deceased or living, just because they had HIV.”
No one considered HIV donor transplants feasible based on two concerns: The virus itself can injure the kidney, and antiretrovirals — the drugs that control HIV — are toxic to the kidney. “We had to show that certain people with HIV could be healthy enough to be a kidney donor and to live with only one kidney,” Segev said.
As people live longer with HIV, they are experiencing more kidney failure related to high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, Martinez explained. “Because people living with HIV are disproportionately impacted by the length of the donor wait list, if you are living with HIV, you are nearly twice as likely to pass away while waiting for a kidney,” she said.
The passage of the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act in November 2013 allowed researchers to conduct studies of organ transplants from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients. The act does not give priority status to HIV-positive patients but provides a donor pool specifically for people living with HIV. Individual states that had passed laws restricting donations from people with HIV are working quickly to match federal legislation, said Segev, who help draft the HOPE Act.
Martinez was nonplussed when the HOPE Act became law because she understood that it would mainly be used to allow deceased HIV-positive patients to become organ donors. This was the case when, in 2016, Johns Hopkins performed the world’s first HIV-to-HIV transplant.
Until her own surgery Monday, there had been about 100 HIV-to-HIV transplants in the United States, but all of them involved deceased donors.
An episode of the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” in which there was a fictional HIV-to-HIV live donor transplant stoked Martinez’s imagination.
“It wasn’t until my friend broadcast his need for a kidney that I seriously thought about this in earnest,” she said. An Internet search took her to Johns Hopkins.
“Unfortunately, my friend passed away,” she said, and so her donation has gone to a person unknown to her, a good match selected from Johns Hopkins’ kidney wait list.
To accomplish her dream, Martinez had to be carefully screened.

A second strain of HIV

“Nina met the standard donor criteria: She was otherwise healthy without hypertension, without diabetes, so her only additional risk factor for kidney disease was HIV. And we had determined from our research that that was an acceptable and small additional risk,” said Dr. Christine Durand, associate professor of medicine and oncology and member of the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and the HIV team specialist for Martinez’s surgery.
Martinez said access to health care has been “a huge contributor” to her health and longevity. She hasn’t had a car in 14 years so she walks a lot. She also runs marathons with the nonprofit Grassroots Project, in which student athletes teach young people the tenets of HIV prevention. “I thought the juxtaposition of a longtime HIV patient with NCAA Division I athletes was quite comical,” she said.

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11 Weird Symptoms Of Acid Reflux & How To Fix The Problem

If you’ve ever partaken in late night pizza, only to lie in bed afterwards cursing your decision, then you probably know a thing or two about acid reflux. This is the oh-so-common feeling of heartburn and indigestion, and it’s pretty darn easy to recognize. Sometimes, however, there are weird symptoms of acid reflux that aren’t so obvious. They can leave you suffering, and questioning, for days.

Eating late at night, heavy meals, too much alcohol, smoking, and eating acidic foods can all trigger these symptoms, according to Cederquist. If you’re having a problem with heartburn, it’s best to lay off these things for a while. And you should also be on the lookout for lesser known symptoms of acid reflux, so you don’t go on suffering needlessly. Below are some of the weirder signs of heartburn.

1. A Scratchy Throat

2. A Bad Taste In Your Mouth

All of that acid coming up can also create a bad taste in your mouth, according to Amanda Gardner on Health. People often describe the taste as bitter or acidic. 

3. A Nagging, Dry Cough

Have you been coughing up your lungs as of late? That aforementioned irritation, caused by the acid in your throat and lungs, can lead to a dry, nagging cough, according to Cederquist. It’s definitely something to watch out for.

Sometimes heartburn can make it difficult to lie down without feeling like your chest is on fire. This is due to stomach acid escaping your stomach, and flowing the wrong way into your esophagus. “That’s why people with chronic heartburn raise the head of their bed, and why they shouldn’t eat big meals right before bedtime,” Gardner said.

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